Yesterday I posted about the idolatry of religion and how it leads to pride and fear. I'd like to pick that back up from the other side of the coin. Because there's an idolatry of religion that irreligious, a rebellion against religion that leads to the same outcomes: pride and fear.
You think about the college student who, once out of the house, goes on a hedonistic rampage. Anything he wants, he goes after. Whatever her heart desires, she tries and then tries again. Prodigals who find a distant country so inviting and so exciting that they throw their lives away, often until they hit some sort of rock bottom. You know people like this?
We all do.
Maybe you're one of them.
But just like in yesterday's Pharisee, pride and fear are the outcome of the Prodigal too. And they keep that person from God.
Pride shows up when they want to make it up to God in some way. It can also manifest in the refusal to turn to God because you're going to get yourself all cleaned up before coming back home. But let's face it: we all stink and we all stink at this. We smell like a dead skunk covered in cow manure. And there's no way we can get it off of us to pass as socially (much less spiritually) acceptable in the presence of someone else. Isolation (with its root in pride) is often the wretched rose that follows.
And fear? That's an easy one to grasp. When you stink that bad and are that bad, you don't want to come home for fear of what someone might say. You can play the tapes in your head of predicted messages: oh sure, now he wants to come home; well it's about time a girl like you came to her senses and cleaned up her mess. On and on they could go.
But great news.
Jesus died for Prodigals just like He died for Pharisees. And He rose again to give them both a new kind of life, far from the putrid poignancy of religious idolatry.
There's no need to run anywhere but into His waiting arms.
But that's just me thinking thoughts...